I was delighted to be able to make the following statement at tonight’s meeting of the full Council, where I was able to confirm we have managed to save Hamstel Children’s Centre from having to merge with Temple Sutton. We are still looking for the two centres to work closer together, but the two children’s centres will remain, thanks to the Council obtaining additional Public Health funding:
“I am, as is the whole Administration, committed to children’s centres in Southend and the role they play in early intervention. My primary concern, when delivering the Council’s required savings has always been to do so with the least impact possible on children and families.
I have listened carefully to the views of providers, residents, members and most importantly those who use children’s centres – parents and carers.
Despite every effort to make a saving through merging Hamstel and Temple Sutton, whilst maintaining adequate services there; I share the concerns that the impact on children, in this area of high deprivation and need is too great.
However, I am still required to deliver the full budget saving, as set by this Council in February.
Therefore I have worked tirelessly to identify an alternative way to balance the books.
I am pleased to report that this Administration recognises that early intervention for children is a key priority for the use of the new Public Health ring-fenced grant, alongside all other competing demands. Therefore we propose to use a small allocation of the new funding to support the health related services across all of Southend’s children’s centres. This contribution will allow us to make the full £224k on-going saving as Council required, whilst still maintaining both Hamstel and Temple Sutton Children’s Centres.
I am delighted to be able to report this innovative solution – allowing us to act on members’ and residents’ concerns – retaining more services across the town, ensuring we focusing on those most in need, whilst still finding a way to achieve the required savings, accepting and delivering on my responsibility to ensure this Council delivers a balanced budget.”